With a prescription drug epidemic raging in the country, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) encouraged West Virginians to participate on Saturday in the fifth National Drug Take Back Day, an opportunity to dispose of any expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has scheduled the fifth National Drug Take Back Day on September 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cleaning out medicine cabinets can reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse, and participation in the annual public event helps to increase awareness of this critical health issue.
"Drug abuse is devastating to communities across West Virginia, whether it's preventing employers from being able to hire or tearing families apart," Senator Manchin said. "Participating in opportunities like Drug Take Back Day brings folks together from all sides of this epidemic problem -- treatment, education, law enforcement, and prevention -- to work toward fighting against drug abuse. These events not only help combat drug abuse by providing an opportunity to safely dispose of these medications, but they spread awareness of this critical issue. It is important to work together so that West Virginia can have strong, drug-free communities."
Collection sites offer anonymous drop-offs and no questions are asked.
Senator Manchin has fought for many legislative initiatives to reduce the prevalence of drug abuse in West Virginia and across the nation, including:
Hydrocodone Rescheduling: Senator Manchin has introduced a bipartisan amendment to the FDA reauthorization bill that would move drugs containing hydrocodone from Schedule III to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act, making it more difficult to get addictive prescription drugs for illicit purposes. The amendment passed the Senate by unanimous consent, but was not part of the legislation that ultimately became law. Nonetheless, Senator Manchin's efforts drew national attention to the issue and resulted in the FDA announcing a public hearing on hydrocodone abuse that will be held in October.
The Pill Mill Crackdown Act: Senator Manchin has introduced S. 1760, the Pill Mill Crackdown Act, with Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). The bill would increase penalties for pill mill operators, put some of the seized assets from pill mills toward Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, and make drugs containing hydrocodone more difficult to obtain illegitimately.
Expanding High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA): The Office of National Drug Control Policy's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program provides funds to local law enforcement agencies located in counties in drug-trafficking regions. There are 11 counties in West Virginia currently designated as HIDTAs, and Senator Manchin is working with regional authorities to get more areas accepted into the program.
Funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Senator Manchin has supported funding for COPS programs to provide local police departments with federal grant money. The program helps to advance community policing in many areas where funding is needed to help combat drug abuse.
Funding for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG): Senator Manchin supports funding for the Byrne JAG program, which provides state and local governments with critical resources necessary to support various law enforcement efforts and drug treatment initiatives.
Support for Drug Free Communities: Senator Manchin has supported funding for Drug Free Communities, which provides grants to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent substance abuse in youth.
Support for National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month: Senator Manchin is a cosponsor of S.Res.261 and S.Res.564, which designated October 2011 and October 2012, respectively, as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Both resolutions passed the Senate by unanimous consent.